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By Heloise

This article was published February 18, 2014 at 1:35 a.m.

DEAR HELOISE: With all the identity theft, should I sign the back of my credit cards or not?

  • Janice W., via email

DEAR READER: Yes, you should sign credit cards, even if there is concern that someone might practice your signature and then use the card. Credit-card companies tell retailers not to accept the card for use if it is not signed, so if you want to be sure you can use it, you’d better sign it.

Merchants can ask you to sign the card in front of them (if it is not signed when you hand it to them) and then produce another form of ID with a matching signature. If you refuse, the credit card may be declined for payment.

P.S.: You can add the words “Check ID” by your signature and hope retailers will look at the back of the card, see those words and ask for it, but it is no guarantee.

DEAR HELOISE: On a recent trip, I stayed at a hotel that has a little fast-food type restaurant in the lobby.

My hint is to make sure you check the operating hours. Some of these “restaurants” will shut down for a few hours between mealtimes and may close early on Sundays. Saves you the surprise of finding out they are closed when you need a meal.

  • K.W., Traveler From Texas

DEAR READER: I’ve been stuck in the same situation, but I carry some peanuts or granola in my carry-on bag. They have saved me a few times when nothing was open.

DEAR READER: Do you have any torn or ripped stamps? They may be salvageable. Mail is put through machines that automatically check for a valid stamp. If a stamp is torn or ripped, the machine might not recognize it. It then is checked manually and will be sent back if not valid. However, a little tear should not make much of a difference. When in doubt, call the post office and ask.

DEAR HELOISE: When the daily newspaper is delivered, we save the plastic sleeve (bag) that it comes in, in a box in the laundry room.

When we are prepping for dinner, we place the bag in a corner of the sink and drop all scraps into it. When finished, we tie it up neatly and toss it into the garbage can.

  • The Andersons, Neptune, N.J.

Send a money- or time-saving hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, Texas 78279-5000; fax to (210) 435-6473; or email

Style, Pages 26 on 02/18/2014

Print Headline: HELPFUL HINTS


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